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Zotero and Other Citation Management Tools

Why Use a Citation Management Tool?

Does one of these describe your current citation management technique for in-depth research projects?

  • Saving a bunch of urls in a Word document
  • Saving a bunch of PDFs to folders on your desktop
  • Hand writing down references on a notepad
  • Printing articles and saving them in piles on your desk
  • Placing sticky notes on your computer monitor
  • Trying to commit the names of websites to memory so you can track them down later
  • Some combination of one or more of the above

If so, you can benefit from use of a citation management tool! These tools allow you to keep track of books, articles, websites, and more all in one place. In addition, citation managers can generate citations or bibliographies in your style of choice in just a few clicks. These features help you save time and make your research more efficient. The information that follows provides guidance on using one particular citation management tool: Zotero. Other tools exist (see Other Citation Management Tools below), but Zotero is easy to learn and user friendly, which is why we use it for our deep dive here.

*An important note* No matter which tool you select, rest assured that you will have the ability to export your references to another system at a later date if you so choose. Instructions on how to transfer references to or from Zotero from other tools are available through the UW Libraries Zotero guide.